The Invitation - Day 26

Luke 21:20

“And when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you will know that the time of its destruction has arrived.21 Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. Those in Jerusalem must get out, and those out in the country should not return to the city. 22 For those will be days of God’s vengeance, and the prophetic words of the Scriptures will be fulfilled.23 How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. For there will be disaster in the land and great anger against this people. 24 They will be killed by the sword or sent away as captives to all the nations of the world. And Jerusalem will be trampled down by the Gentiles until the period of the Gentiles comes to an end.
25 “And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides. 26 People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory. 28 So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!”

Rather than exegete every thing that is mentioned in this text, I want to talk a little philosophically about these kinds of texts.

Firstly, this happened at the destruction of the temple in 70AD. Rome destroyed the temple, and the children of Israel had to disperse and become the Diaspora throughout the world after this event.
Secondly, since the time of Jesus, people have been trying to hang certain events within nature on these particular comments. Signs in the sun, moon, and stars, roaring seas, and strange tides are things that people have tried to pin down to say, “Look, the time of the end is coming!” SDA’s even had a magazine called the “Signs of the Times” that often focused on end-of-time prophecies.

Should we then do the same thing, study these texts, trying to see where they are happening in the world today?

I would say no, and let me tell you why. . .
The time spent on this kind of work does some things to people. It scares them; they expend much intellectual energy and focus on figuring out where we are in this timeline. We have said Jesus is coming “soon” for many years. While this pursuit can be beneficial, since the time of Jesus, anyone who has predicted he is coming has been wrong. SDA’s even have had a brush with this in our history.

Therefore, let's spend our time working to have the world see a better expression of the love of God through our work, care, compassion, and deep desire to continue to be as close to Jesus as possible. This busies our hands in a way that keeps us out of trouble and lowers our anxiety about the end of time.

Lastly, the promise that Jesus will be with us through everything we go through should tell us that we will be better than okay through it all. Even if things go badly for us, we are citizens of the Kingdom of God, and what happens here on this earth, while important, is minor compared to what we have waiting for us in the future. Whatever heaven might be, we will be in God's presence, which should give us peace!

  1. Have you ever known someone distracted by trying to figure out when God was coming? 
  2. How much love did they bring into the world? 
  3. How much love can you bring into the world today? 

By Pastor Timothy Gillespie

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